February 4, 2014 (Washington, DC) – Today, in a significant advancement for sportsmen and women across the country, members of the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014. Introduced by CSC Senate Co-Chair, Senator Kay Hagan and CSC member Senator Lisa Murkowski, this bipartisan legislative package includes 12 bills that would ensure our sportsmen’s traditions are protected and advanced, and addresses some of the most current concerns of American hunters and recreational anglers and shooters.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act is cosponsored by CSC Vice-Chair, Sen. Mark Pryor and CSC members, Sens. Mark Begich, John Boozman, Dean Heller, John Hoeven, Mary Landrieu, Joe Manchin, Rob Portman, Jon Tester and David Vitter.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President, Jeff Crane praised the introduction of this vital legislation. “We thank CSC Co-Chair Senator Hagan and CSC member Senator Murkowski for introducing this bipartisan package of legislation that includes provisions vital to protecting our hunting and angling traditions in the U.S., which the CSC and organizations within the sportsmen’s community have been working on for years.”
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act contains six bills that are also found in the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act (H.R. 3590), which has been introduced in the House of Representatives by House CSC Co-Chairs, Representatives Bob Latta and Bennie Thompson and Vice-Chairs, Representatives Rob Wittman and Tim Walz. Similar provisions include protecting traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle from unwarranted regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act, amending the Pittman-Robertson Act to allocate a greater proportion of funding for shooting ranges, allowing film crews of five or fewer persons on federal lands with an annual permit for $200, and allowing the Secretary of Interior to authorize a permanent electronic duck stamp, among others.
“I am proud to have partnered with Senator Lisa Murkowski to develop the bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014,” said CSC Co-Chair, Sen. Kay Hagan. “In North Carolina, hunting, fishing and shooting are a way of life. Many of these traditions have been handed down through my own family, and I’m proud that our bill protects these activities for future generations while ensuring that outdoor recreation can continue to support jobs and local economies across the country. At a time when Washington is stuck in political gridlock, our bill demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans can work together to find common ground, and I look forward to working with Senator Murkowski to advance this package through the Senate and into law.”
In addition to the bills shared by H.R. 3590, priorities in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act include: reauthorization of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, which allows the Bureau of Land Management to sell land to private owners for ranching, community development, and conservation projects; reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act; and “Making Public Lands Public,” which requires that 1.5% of the Land and Water Conservation Fund be used for ensuring recreational public access to federal public lands that have significantly restricted access to fishing and hunting.
“Senator Hagan and I have been able to combine the best of the bills from our individual packages to support outdoor recreation and created a truly bipartisan package that will improve access to public lands for anglers, hunters, and recreational shooters across the nation,” Sen. Murkowski said. “I’m hopeful that the Senate can follow suit and work together to pass a sportsmen’s package this Congress, because these are some of the last remaining ‘easy’ issues that enjoy widespread support here on Capitol Hill.”
The SHARE Act is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives on February 5. CSF will continue to work with our bipartisan partners in the CSC to advance these sportsmen’s priorities through Congress.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?